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Swimming at the 1972 München Summer Games:

Men's 200 metres Butterfly

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Events:

Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Hall, Olympic Park, München
Date Started: August 28, 1972
Date Finished: August 28, 1972

Gold: USA Mark Spitz
Silver: USA Gary Hall
Bronze: USA Robin Backhaus

Summary

This was the first men’s individual final of the Munich Olympic swimming competition. The overwhelming favorite was [Mark Spitz] who had announced plans to win seven gold medals in seven events at the 1972 Olympics. Since 1967 he had set eight world records in the event, and was considered unbeatable in this one. After recording the fastest qualifier in the morning Spitz streaked to the wall on the first lap, opening a lead of 1.45 seconds in the first 50 metres over teammate [Gary Hall]. Hall actually stayed close on the second lap, Spitz reaching the halfway mark in 57.79, and the third lap. But by the final 50 Spitz was too strong and he powered home to win by over two seconds, setting a world record of 2:00.70. Hall was a comfortable silver medal winner, with American [Robin Backhaus] completing a sweep for the US. One down for Spitz. Six to go. Forty minutes later, Spitz would swim in the final of the 4 x 100 freestyle relay, winning his second gold medal. The game was on.

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